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Engaging Entertainment: Engaged Nation’s Sports-Related Gamification Programs Continue to Expand

Introducing Engaged Nation – a new breed martech (marketing technology) company that brings together decades of experience in casino operations and digital marketing to create innovative gamified marketing solutions. This unique combination of experience enables the company to understand a casino’s operational and business goals and design effective online marketing programs to generate a quantifiable return at each property it represents.

Founded in 2008 by Las Vegas visionary Bill Paulos and award-winning marketing veteran Jerry Epstein, Engaged Nation was one of the earliest companies in the gamification industry. In over ten years of trailblazing, Engaged Nation has won multiple international awards and become a recognized leader in digital gamified marketing.

While its products and services do not directly involve the exchange of money for a sports betting, Engaged Nation has been on the leading edge of offering digital sports engagement for casino properties since 2015 when the company launched its first version of Pro Football Frenzy. Since then, it has refined the product and added others to its portfolio.

Furthermore, in 2018 Engaged Nation joined forces with Gaming Today, the 40-year old sports betting weekly. Gaming Today is a staple of the Las Vegas market and is available at virtually every major Las Vegas sportsbook, including the SuperBook at Westgate Resort, and has expanded to multiple locations and states across the country.

By becoming sister companies and pairing programs, Engaged Nation has merged synergies in a way that allows it to offer even more sports betting-related products and services to fit casinos’ needs. The company’s combined portfolio allows it to customize content by region or state, offer digital marketing and outbound e-mail programs and drive new customer acquisition and retention—all with the goal of assisting its casino clients to stay ahead of the legal sports betting curve.

Now Engaged Nation’s CEO, Jerry Epstein took some time to answer a few questions about how the company’s offerings can benefit the sports betting market in the U.S.

What systems and solutions does Engaged Nation provide operators to better monetize sport betting?

Epstein: Everything Engaged Nation offers are built off our patent-pending and international award-winning REACHTM (Revenue, Engagement, Activation, Conversion Hub) system of online customer engagement. 

We have a full suite of end-to-end solutions. First, we produce programs that can help casinos build their databases, either before or after legalized betting takes effect. Second, we have a sophisticated system built on geo-conquesting that identifies and engages potential new customers through mobile app outreach. Third, we provide continuous player engagement with customized content from Gaming Today. This retention aspect of our system provides valuable betting tips and other relevant content to our clients’ customers weekly. Additionally, our proven systems can drive players to land-based casinos for either sports betting, play on the casino floor, or even dining in bars, lounges, and restaurants.

In all instances, Engaged Nation’s proprietary modular system:

  • Is fully customized and developed for specific needs;
  • Easily embeds into a mobile app or on a hosted microsite/landing page; and
  • Runs for a specified length of time.

What benefits do your systems and solutions provide players?

Epstein: Our methodology is simple: Provide customers with an interactive experience that creates an enduring emotional connection and bond. Then boost casinos’ revenues by converting that connection into measurable results, such as cultivating general awareness of a property and its sports programs, obtaining e-mail addresses of potential new customers, increasing mobile app downloads, reactivating dormant customers and building brand loyalty among existing customers.

Engaged Nation’s REACHTM system drives reach, frequency, loyalty and (most importantly) effective daily interaction. Our proven methods significantly increase a property’s value proposition to its players while delivering ongoing and measurable incremental revenue to the same. We are able to quantify this as we work with the property to track and measure the player journey from digital device to property floor.

Our modular platform can achieve multiple objectives and is designed to directly address specific business needs and goals, including:

  • Increase acquisition, retention and the lifetime value of all players;
  • Reactivate dormant players;
  • Boost on-property promotions and amenities;
  • Launch new products;
  • Offer sports betting tutorials;
  • Provide internal training for team members;
  • Increase adoption and download of mobile apps;
  • Enhance social media initiatives and Facebook shares; and
  • Strengthen a client’s brand.

At our core, what we offer players are fun and rewarding online experiences that both entertain and educate them about anything related to their local casino—from on-floor promotions to how to place a sports wager.

How did the company prepare itself for this market in the U.S. and what are its plans to continue its growth as more states begin to offer legalized sports betting?

Epstein: As previously mentioned, we’ve been preparing for and offering sports-related gamification programs since 2015, when we released and implemented the original version of Pro Football Frenzy. Since then, we have continued to refine Pro Football Frenzy so that it now includes a $2,000,000 insured payout. In 2017, we added the Million Dollar March Mania Challenge (centered around the men’s college basketball tournament), the $100,000 Pro Football Playoff Challenge, and Gaming Today’s Sports Betting 101, which gamifies the sports betting learning process to make players more educated bettors.

Thanks to our partnership with Gaming Today, we are able to offer customized and private-labeled sports betting content with gamification elements to aid casinos in new customer acquisition, education and sports betting app downloads. This is proving to be one of the industry’s top priorities.

What are the company’s predictions for legalized sports betting in the U.S. for 2019, and what role does Engaged Nation hope to play in them?

Epstein: To date, Mississippi, New Mexico, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Rhode Island have already legalized sports betting. Arkansas and New York have recently passed bills, and another 17 states have introduced legislation and are in a full-court press to get there. Montana and Oregon were grandfathered into the previous ruling, and Oregon just announced it is expanding its lottery offerings in 2019, with sports betting on the list. We expect another five states to formally legalize in 2019 and are focusing on New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Connecticut, Virginia and Louisiana as the prime candidates.

The windfall to casinos from sports betting could be enormous. In a recent survey, almost 50 percent of people 18 years and older in the U.S. reported placing bets on sporting events at least once in their lives. Additionally, it is suggested that one out of every five Americans (or over 65 million people) are currently either illegal, social or casual sports bettors. The American Gaming Association has also estimated that there is a $150 billion illegal sports betting market in the United States. When you factor that in with the nearly 60 million people who participate in fantasy sports, that is a ton of money and players waiting to be grabbed thanks to the SCOTUS ruling.

What we are seeing is that aggressive gaming companies are examining the products they can offer now to broaden their players’ connections and experiences with sports gambling and, most importantly, begin to build a meaningful database. They are looking to bridge the gap to legalization with innovative products designed to mimic traditional sports betting, while also complying with the newer fantasy sports laws.

Whether it involves the Triple Crown, Stanley Cup, World Series, Super Bowl, NBA Playoffs, March Madness or NASCAR, there are plenty of sports-related promotions that are fun, exciting, easy to implement, and proven to produce results that will portray savvy properties as go-to locations when the inevitable tsunami ensues. However, we recommend going with the highest profile sports and events that garner the most interest and participation.

The legalized sports betting wave is here and growing. As we have since 2015, and as previously outlined, Engaged Nation will continue to offer and develop sports-related gamified programs that are designed to effectively and profitably engage a casino’s customer base—whether it is legal to bet in their state yet or not. By combining the engaging sports betting content and over 40 years of experience from our sister company, Gaming Today, Engaged Nation has established itself as one of the leaders in this area.

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